11th Annual Gran Fondo Hincapie pedals through Polk County on Saturday

Published 1:17 pm Monday, October 24, 2022

On a cool October Saturday morning, one of Carolina’s most significant cycling events, the annual Gran Fondo Hincapie, pedaled its way through Polk County with a peloton of over 2,500 bicyclists.

 

The event drew in cyclists from across the Southeast, and some came from even further to participate in the bicycle ride. There were three scenic routes available to cyclists: a 15-mile route, a 50-mile route, and an 80-mile route. Many cyclists chose the 80-mile route that began in Travelers Rest and wound its way through Saluda. 

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Event founder and organizer George Hincapie said he was “delighted” by the turnout and was pleased that the day was so spectacular for the riders.  “A chilly morning led to a beautiful sunny day for our Junior Challenge Racers and Fondo riders, and we loved every moment riding and celebrating with them all,” Hincapie said.

Several volunteers handing out water commented that it turned out to be a perfect day for the event.  

The riders were friendly, greeting locals and supporters with waves and kind words. Rider Lindsay Kenney added, “It’s a wonderful ride through some spectacular countryside in the October sunshine and was a pleasure for all of us who took part.”

Riders who participated ranged from nine years old to well into their seventies. The event is tailored for competitive cyclists and follows some of the same roads Hincapie trained on for the Tour De France.

The Gran Fondo Hincapie was founded in Greenville by brothers Rich and George Hincapie, and has expanded to include similar rides in Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas. 

The Hincapie brothers also run a sportswear line and the Hotel Domestique, a mountain hotel in Travelers Rest. George Hincapie is a retired former professional cyclist, having competed in some of the world’s top cycling events, including five consecutive Olympics.